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Jorge Contreras

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Stopping oil exploration in Ecuador's Yasuni National Park

Ecuador's most Biodiverse area is about to be exploited, how can we stop it? Oil is definitely not the economical solution to eradicate poverty or make a better country.

"Yasuni National Park is arguably the most biologically diverse spot on Earth. The park is at the center of a small zone where amphibian, bird, mammal, and vascular plant diversity all reach their maximum levels, the park breaks world records for local-scale (less than 100 km2) tree, amphibian, and bat species richness, and is one of the richest spots in the world for birds and mammals at local scales as well.

The park holds a world record 150 amphibian species for places with comparable landscapes. It also is in the top for amphibian diversity compared to other sites sampled in the western Amazon."

How can we stop this from being destroyed?

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    Sep 8 2013: As Lejan has insightfully pointed out, if we like to preserve biodiversity, then we have to stop buying oil-based products.

    The only way to stop a juggernaut of such immense size as the oil-based economy, is to cut off its sustenance. If we all stop feeding it, it will grind to a halt.

    The reality is, most people either enjoy the lifestyle that oil brings, or regard oil-based products as a necessity. It's a dysfunctional symbiosis - if we keep feeding the oil juggernaut with one hand and and consuming what it produces with the other, it will respond by exploring for new sources in places regarded as sacrosanct, like the Arctic regions and Yasuni National Park. The more desperate it gets to feed our consumer hunger, the more it will destroy biodiversity.

    So the answer to the problem lies with us and our consumer habits, I'm afraid.
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    Sep 7 2013: Jorge,

    Here is menteresting Background on th {reidentCorrea giving the go ahead for drilling in the yasuni

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/july-dec13/ecuador_08-16.html

    According to this PBS article he tried to raise 1/2 of what the petruleum is worth in wolrd markets ( $3.7 billion) but the international communty interested in preserving Yuni for its global importance as a habitat for unique species. He shares those values, the eloquent consitution expresses these values but he says how can he not use the country's natural resources to fee the hungry and house and cloth the poor.

    What do you say to that.

    Is that a reasonable judgment n the part of the President?

    Shouldn't the international community share some of the financial burden to "leave it aground" for the sake of internationally valued wilderness areas? I certainly don't think we have a right to protest unless we also put some money behind it.
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    Sep 6 2013: There is no other any than to personally stop using oil, its products and byproducts.

    Use alternative and regenerative energy and materials instead to reduce the demand for oil of those and your portion. And only if enough people follow this path, the Yasuni and other national parks may not be exploited.
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      Sep 6 2013: Lejan can you name projects that are been done and share them so people can See..there is out there a lot of alternatives?
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        Sep 6 2013: I can not name you any other project than mine which is still ongoing, far from completion and very limited in its success rate so far.

        Due to the fact, that our whole economy is based on fossil fuel consumption, there aren't many alternatives to choose from which managed to survive in this highly competitive environment of todays markets.

        For instance, I do not even find a source for potatoes in my area, which didn't use oil during its farming cycle and distribution to our local grocery stores and my garden is not large enough to even grow the quantity I need for myself. And this would just be potatoes...

        So as true alternatives are scarce, the only thing I can do and do is to limit the overall amount of direct and also indirect use of oil, which touches all aspects of my daily life and makes it pretty difficult to keep track of it and to stay sensitive about it.

        My long term goal is to become a self-supporter for the most fundamental necessities of life, which requires such an dramatic change of my given lifestyle and environment, that I broke it down into different stages to get used to it myself and to gather the means for its realization.

        But there are also simple ways to reduce ones personal oil consumption and this is to get used to the habit not to aways buy new objects you need for your your household. Flea-markets or online auction houses are a very good source for most material objects one needs for a comfortable life.

        I also found, that quality wise, older products tend to be of higher standards than many new ones of today, because the concept of 'planned obsolescence' has not been 'invented' in those days ... :o)

        So the first step everyone can do is to become aware of ones own consumption habits and not to get discouraged about its outcome and to start from there in little changes of habits and expectations to transform the 'felt life quality' towards more sustainable sources. And as any little change adds up, it is on all of us to transform.
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      Sep 6 2013: Lejan, You are indeed a very wise man. That is the center of it isn't it? that so many of we the people globally are still voraciously consuming petroleum product even though the price..at the cash register and in the 'ultimate accounting" get higher and higher and already unacceptably high.

      Here in Maine which just up between the candian maritimes and Quebec we are all deeply engaged now in the huge risks to our natural resources and hundreds of communities from rolling pipeline ( crude oil by train). Just across our brober an entire small town, lac Megantic, was literally wiped off the face of the earth.in the middle of the night by an unattended train on a slope.

      Al the environmental groups here were too busy getting easy donations on an anti pipeline campaign while this issue was building to an obvious head. One of the trains carrying this explosive corrosive Bakken crude to JD Irving refineries in St John New Brunswick, right through Maine's most populated town centers, right through Maine's most exquisitely pristine wilderness has had 4 rolling pipeline derailments already.

      The follow the bouncing ball sing along pipeline protestors turn up guzzling bottled wearing polartec and other products made from petroleum.

      It is very frustrating when environmental advocates sell out so foolishly and readily for a an easy button pushing campaign that guarantees their own survival and never really offers any meaning solution to the problems.

      What happens in Ecuador can and does happen right here in Maine.
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        Sep 6 2013: Lindsay, if wisdom means to realize certain malformation within a bigger picture and having no clue how to get them fixed, I then agree on your compliment. In fact, it is way more easy to spot general problems than to provide working solutions and to life up to ones own insights.

        The situation in your area which you describe is exemplary for our human nature, by which most of us start to realize certain consequences only the very moment we become affected by them personally. This our nature is per se not a bad thing, as it prevents us do become chronically depressed, yet it often hinders us to take actions when it is important.

        Yet even though it looks in-consequent at first sight to protest against local 'rolling pipelines' while wearing oil-based fabrics, it is still better than not protesting at all. It may be the first step of the longer journey of realization how much and how deep our lifestyle depends on limited fossil fuels.

        I myself realized just a view years ago how much even our most basic food depends on this limited energy source, which blew my mind by the simple fact, that I have never ever thought about this connection before:

        A Farm For The Future - BBC documentary by Rebecca Hosking:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPSHiB-HyKU

        And even though this documentary gives alternative perspectives, which are without doubt quite promising, the overall scope of those necessary changes is quite difficult to grasp even just for my own country. And although the overall knowledge is there, I don't see any actions in this vital areas taking place, by the simple fact, that the status quo still is the 'cheapest' solution on short term sight.

        Just recently a discussion started in Germany and other European countries as we found about the amount of food which we trash every day in our private households. Food has become a commodity that cheap, that many people have lost the sense of appreciation about it.

        The first step for change is realization which is on us.
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    Sep 12 2013: We need to visit this issue again..not just in relation to Ecuador but at leas exploring what obligation the rest of the world has for a country forgoing resources extraction in areas of global value in regulating the climate..

    Thank you for bringing this to TED Conversations.
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    Sep 12 2013: It is the captains of industry and commerce that dominate the decision making of practically every nation on the planet and if those interested parties decide there is money to be made exploiting a resource then all other considerations will have to take a backseat to this agenda. Too bad if a bio system is harmed or even lost when the profit takers show up. And the rest of us who think the environment is more important than ever greater profits are deemed to be trouble makers by those profit takers.

    Here in Canada we have a Prime Minister that was put into office by the Oil and Gas industry solely for the purpose of promoting the environmentally destructive Oil Sands project in Northern Alberta and all the other issues such as homelessness, an aging population, crumbling infrastructures and a host of other people and community related issues must all take a backseat to this Oil Sands agenda.
  • Sep 8 2013: "how can he not use the country's natural resources to fee the hungry and house and cloth the poor"
    Between 2000 and 2012, Ecuador's GDP increased from $ 18.3 billion to $ 84.6 billion, during the government of Rafael Correa, the GDP increased from 51 to 84.6 billion dollars, without most of Ecuadorians could see real improvements in their lives and now he says he will redistribute money to the provinces and build roads, schools, hospitals, only with the contribution of the Yasuni, another lie of ecuadorian government. Only the most fools can believe in that promise
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    Sep 6 2013: Jorge,

    Ecuador hasan eolquent , moving new constitution. How can this oil epxloration be ongoing ? Isn't that completely the antithesis of Ecuadors beautiful new constitution?
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      Sep 7 2013: Lindsay I am glad you highlight this, Ecuador is a beautiful country and its people have been manipulated one way or another, the responsability of exploring oil in Yasuni is so powerful, to know that unique micro eco sistems will be wipe out from our Planet will be enough to walk away from any commercial agreement, Yasuni is above any economical interes,
      I wish this documentary was in English ..but I think it gives the general Idea.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EFgbTV3ZzQ
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    Sep 6 2013: Convince Ecuador's leaders to forbid oil exploration within the park.
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      Sep 6 2013: exactly "Leaders" have agree to go ahead with this Oil exploration in Yasuni, and this people defendly dont represent my opinion... we have a democracy in Ecuador but only few people can decide what has to be done.
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        Sep 8 2013: Life in a Democracy is orderly. You say the decision-making people of Ecuador have issued a directive that funds the harvesting of petroleum deposits in Yasuni Park. Are you asking how that decision can be reversed?
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          Sep 8 2013: Reverse, Revised, Am I the only one seeing how wrong this Is?
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        Sep 8 2013: RE: "Reverse, revise..." You have posted a conversation online. that's something, but talk is cheap. Follow the money and you will come to the root cause of the gathering gloom. If the park represented economic productivity for the government equal to, or greater than, the anticipated petro-dollars then a hiatus would result. Government officials want revenue. They do not care if it comes from tourism, industry, or cookie sales.